Compost: Grandmother’s Hair


Let me tell you a story, which was once a dream:

Once long ago, or maybe only yesterday, a woman was walking in a pine forest in winter. She was surrounded by huge pine trees, hundreds of feet tall.  Suddenly she saw a stag coming through the trees straight toward her. He was a magnificent stag, with a huge rack of antlers, and powerful haunches.  Stopping before her and looking sternly down, he told her, “I am your father.” She was surprised at first, since the last time she checked her father was a human, but looking closer into his eyes she recognized him. He was indeed her father, inside.

“I am here to take you to your grandmother’s house,” he said. “Get on my back so I can carry you.”

The woman mounted the stag’s back, and holding onto his neck they rode away further into the forest. They weaved through the trees, back and forth, back and forth, as if the tree trunks formed a giant loom. Then they turned around and went back the same way.  She became aware that the stag’s hair, and her hair, were intermingled and streaming behind them, and they were indeed using the hairs as threads to weave a cloth.  When the cloth was long and thick, they stopped and the stag removed the cloth off the tree trunk loom, and handed it to the woman.  It was now a very soft blanket.  She carried it on her lap as they continued again deeper into the forest.

They came at last to a clearing. Although she hadn’t seen it since she was a child and her grandmother was still alive, the woman recognized the house immediately as her grandmother’s.

She got down from the Stag and went into the house, carrying her blanket. In the house was her grandmother, looking like she always had, with her frumpy shoes and her hair in a bun, and her face a combination of wisdom and goodness. Putting her arms around the woman, Grandmother said “Oh, I’m so glad to see you!” The woman gave her the blanket she and the stag had made.

“Oh yes,” said Grandmother. “The three of us are woven together with unbreakable bonds, stronger even than the hair of this blanket. They will endure forever, through all our lifetimes, past and yet to come. I will sleep soundly and dream of us under this blanket.”

Then she took the pins out of her hair, and her hair fell down in a gray-brown curtain that reached to her feet.  She reached up and took her hair right off her head.  “I don’t need this anymore. I would like you to have it,” she said.

The woman thanked her grandmother, taking the hair. “What should I do with this, Grandmother?” she asked. “Perhaps you would like a blanket of your own?” asked Grandmother with a smile.

“Why yes, of course,” said the woman. She left the house, where the Stag waited for her outside. She jumped upon his back again, and away they went through the tree trunks, weaving a blanket out of his mother’s hair.


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One thought on “Compost: Grandmother’s Hair

  1. A lovely story.

    I have a personal one from this past Friday.

    I took Fiona to the hairdresser in Seattle on Friday and Fiona decided she wanted to have her hair cut short. So the hairdresser, wacked away at Fiona’s head and at her feet the floor was covered with Fiona’s red hair. I asked the hairdresser to pick up the hair and put it in a plastic bag. The bag was full of her gorgeous locks. The hair dresser thought that I was quite the sentimental mom and Fiona thought I was silly. I’m just glad to have a bag of her beautiful hair.

    Once again, events line up for us. Happy Easter.

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